Addressing a gathering at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Sunday, writer-activist Arundhati Roy commented on the Delhi pogrom. She said that this is our version of the coronavirus and that we are sick.
She began her speech by reminding the crowd that the place where they stand now is only a bus ride away from North-east Delhi where unparalleled violence was unleashed on Muslims by Hindu goons.
“The attack had been in the air for a while, so people were somewhat prepared, and so defended themselves. Markets, shops, homes, mosques, and vehicles have been burnt down.
The streets are full of stones and debris. The hospitals are full of wounded and dying. The morgues are full of the dead. Both Muslim and Hindu, including a policeman and a young staffer of the Intelligence Bureau,” she said.
She also said that people on both sides have shown themselves capable of horrifying brutality as well as unbelievable courage and kindness. She also said that the attack was started by a mob chanting “Jai Sree Ram” and was backed up by the state.
” It is a manifestation of the ongoing battle between fascists and anti-fascists – in which Muslims are the first among the Fascists’ “enemies”. To call it a riot or a “danga”, or “Left” versus “Right” or even “Right” versus “Wrong” as many are doing, is dangerous and obfuscatory,” she said.
She went on to speak about how police had been complicit in this.
“We have all seen the videos of the police standing by and sometimes participating in the arson. We have seen them smashing CCTV cameras, just as they did when they vandalized the Jamia Millia Islamia University library on December 15.”
Addressing Narendra Modi as the nakedly fascist Prime Minister, Roy said that he is no stranger to such violence as he himself had led violence in a state when 18 years ago a massacre on a much larger scale went on for weeks.
“Although there have been no more killings in North Delhi, yesterday (February 29) saw mobs of people in Central Delhi chanting the slogan that built up to the attacks: “Desh ke Gaddaron ko, Goli maaron saalon ko.” she said.
Roy also reminded the crowd as to how Justice Muralidhar got a transfer order overnight.
“Fun and games with judges aren’t new,” she said. “We know the story about Justice Loya. We may have forgotten the story of Babu Bajrangi, convicted of participating in the killing of 96 Muslims in Naroda Patiya, in Gujarat in 2002. Listen to him on YouTube: He’ll tell you how “Narendra Bhai” got him out of jail because of “setting” the judges.”
She said this is the punishment for the humiliating defeat that BJP suffered in the Delhi elections and is an announcement for the upcoming Bihar elections.
“Everything is on record. Everything is available for everyone to see and hear – the provocative speeches of Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma, Union Minister Anurag Thakur, Chief Minister of UP Yogi Adityanath, the Home Minister Amit Shah and even the Prime Minister himself.
And yet everything has been turned upside down – it’s being made to appear as though all of India is a victim of the absolutely peaceful, mostly female, mostly – but not only – Muslim protestors who have been out on the streets for almost 75 days, in their tens of thousands, to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act,” she said.
She also said that we are in need of people who won’t mind being unpopular, who are prepared to put themselves in danger, who is prepared, to tell the truth.
“Brave journalists can do that, and they have. Brave lawyers can do that, and they have. And artists – beautiful, brilliant, brave writers, poets, musicians, painters, and filmmakers can do that. That beauty is on our side. All of it,” she said.
She concluded by saying,” we have work to do. And a world to win.”